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Security specialist succumbs to hackers
From: InfoSec News <isn () c4i org>
Date: Fri, 6 Jul 2001 02:34:05 -0500 (CDT)


Tom Rodwell, Auckland
Tuesday, 3 July, 2001

A hacking attack on a security specialist proves no one is immune.

IT security assessment firm Co-Logic says US hacker group PoisonBOx
defaced its website on the weekend of June 15.

Co-Logic founder Arjen de Landgraaf says he knew his company was a
potential target it has logged hundreds of attempted hacks. In
preparation for any such attack Co-Logic set up a "honey pot"
structure within the site, to trace the path and methods used by the
PoisonBOx group without compromising security. The hackers took the
bait, replacing the site's front page with their own version:
"PoisonBOx Ownzzzz".

However, even though a "corporate-strength" firewall Raptor is in
place, PoisonBOx broke through and accessed the real system. Because
the site uses one static page while the rest of the pages are
generated dynamically, Co-Logic says the hack did not cause any real

The vulnerability was enabled by the presence of two files left behind
by Windows Uninstaller when Co-Logic staff removed versions of
FrontPage 98 from their systems. "In a sense it is embarrassing, but
as a result we discovered a new vulnerability we weren't aware of,"
says de Landgraaf.

The site runs on NT4 and Internet Information Server, dynamically
generating its pages through XML and is located behind the firewall at
the end of a 2Mb connection to the internet.

Co-Logic says the security breach highlights the need for
risk-evaluation and gap-plugging across all IT areas. "Groups like
PoisonBOx run circles around IT professionals," says de Landgraaf.

In an interesting twist, Co-Logic's site has been re-defaced by an
anti-PoisonBOx group of hackers, suspected of being Chinese-based.
Rival hackers have been at cyberwar since the escalation of
Sino-American tensions earlier this year, when a US spy-plane crashed
in Chinese territory. Arjen de Landgraaf says he even has suspicions
prompted by the presence of the worm virus that the initial attack
itself may have been from Chinese hackers rather than their "good guy"
US adversaries.

Co-Logic IT security specialist Peter Crowder warns IT managers be
aware of vulnerabilities in Windows commonly exploited by PoisonBOx
such as Front Page Extensions (_vti_bin), MSADC, Rpc, easily
accessible scripts and PBServer (phone book server).

"Use commonly available exploit codes to check whether the patches
supplied by Microsoft 'have taken' and that the site is secured
against these attacks," says Crowder, who also points to
defacement-recording sites www.alldas.de and www.safemode.org.

Co-Logic blames software companies for successful hacks. "They spend a
lot of money marketing software, trying to recoup their development
costs," says de Landgraaf. "And they release software on the market
that is either not tested enough or has too many permutations."

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